Skip to main content

tv   Newsnight  BBC News  November 13, 2017 11:15pm-12:01am GMT

11:15 pm
ministers are considering if diplomatic protection can be given to mrs zaghari—ratcliffe, which would turn it from a consular issue into a more serious dispute between the uk and iran. but it's not clear if this would help her. mrs zaghari—ratcliffe‘s employers were insistent herjob was an administrative one. we don't work in iran. to start with, the thomson reuters‘ condition doesn't work there. and we have no relations with iran. but on top of that, she was really on holiday. and, let me tell you, she's not spy material at all. her familyjust want her home. young gabriella cried when her visit to her mum in prison this weekend was cut short. now on bbc news it's time for newsnight with evan davis. the village of tula toli, in rakhine province in mynamar. on august 30 this year, a massacre occurred there.
11:16 pm
we've pieced together what happened. it's just one example of the violence that has led to a huge exodus of rohingya muslims, out of myanmar. the people of tula toli had seen neighbouring villages burn, but thought they were safe. it's been called a textbook case of ethnic cleansing. when you see the testimony, you might think it is rather more than that. also tonight, the brexit secretary, david davis, promises a commons vote on the final deal. so what happens if the government loses that vote? we're talking crisis
11:17 pm
for the government and an exit with no deal, unless tory rebels can challenge theresa may in one key area. hello. it would be nice to think that in the modern age ethnic cleansing and religious massacres no longer occur. after all, the world has shrunk. we all know what's going on these days. despots have fewer secrets than they used to. they are surely shamed or scared by international law from kicking people out of their homes or standing by while they are murdered. it would also be nice to think that as democracy spreads, so does civility and the rule of law. and that's why events this year in myanmar have been such a shock. although the country has returned to a degree of democracy, since august, 615,000 people of the rohingya muslim minority have fled the country to bangladesh. they come with shocking stories of the treatment meted out back home in myanmar‘s rakhine province.
11:18 pm
it's no wonder they have left. the plight of the rohingya was highlighted by the prime minister, theresa may, in her mansion house speech tonight. this is a major humanitarian crisis, which looks like ethnic cleansing, and it is something for which the burmese authorities and especially the military must take full responsibility. well, in a moment, we'll see a deeply disturbing film from gabriel gatehouse on some of the testimony of the refugees, on the fate of one village in rakhine. but before we do, let's just just get some background to the problems there. first the numbers: myanmar is a country of 55 million people. although ethnically divided, the buddhist religion provides some form of unifying identity to the bulk of the population — 88% or so. muslims are a small minority.
11:19 pm
in 2015, there were about a million rohingya muslims, a mere 2% of the mynamar population. but in rakhine province itself — or arakan as it is also known — if the rohingya were all allowed back, they'd probably be the majority. the history of ethnic tension between rakhine buddhists and rohingya muslims goes back centuries, not improved, by the way, by british colonial rule. scenes as appalling as any refugee crisis i've ever witnessed. in the post—war era, with myanmar independent, there have been sporadic outbreaks of trouble. rohingyas have often aspired to secede from myanmar, but separation is an idea that was greeted with virulent hostility by the country's numerous military rulers. they stripped the rohingya of citizenship in 1982 making them stateless. the latest trouble dates back to august 25. a rohingya group — call them militants or insurgents — attacked police and army posts.
11:20 pm
the response has been harsh, creating the huge exodus that's occurred this year. we'll see gabriel's film in a moment, but he's with me now. people will see a film that's extremely important. just give us a little background, tell us about this one village. this massacre is a massacre of such horrifying proportions, such horrific brutality that it merits investigation in its own right. i've reported on islamic state in syria and iraq, but none of that really comes close. this is by far the most disturbing story i've ever covered. we're talking about mass murder, mass rape. the killing of infants and of children. but it's not an isolated case. this is the kind of thing that has been going on throughout northern rakhine state since the end of august and indeed continues in some places to go on to this day. we're talking about whole villages being burned, razed, ethnic cleansing in effect. this is violence that is perpetrated against a people who, in any case, have few of the rights, basic rights that human beings,
11:21 pm
normal human beings would expect, besides being denied citizenship, they're denied the right to vote. they're denied decent health care, decent education. they're even denied the right to travel freely inside their own country. this is violence that's perpetrated by a government that is led by somebody who's been awarded the nobel peace prize. now it's difficult to report from inside myanmar, the burmese government doesn't allow independent access to the affected areas. certainly it would be impossible to get meaningful access to the village we're talking about. so we travelled to bangladesh and collected testimony in the camps there, where the survivors of this massacre have sought refuge. just to warn you again, our report contains extremely disturbing images, very disturbing testimony and graphic descriptions of sexual violence. these people have just
11:22 pm
crossed the border. they are in no—man‘s land. they have been driven from their homes in myanmar, now they are waiting for permission to enter bangladesh. the rohingya are a people that neither country wants. what happened in your village? theyjust burned our houses. these are some of the survivors, they are hungry, they are sick, and they are scared. across the river, there is a deliberate campaign of terror going on. a campaignfrom which no—one is safe. we don't know how many people have been killed, but we do have some idea of how many have been burnt and chased out of their homes, these are just
11:23 pm
the tiny fraction of the hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people, who have fled. in our investigation, we are going to focus on the events of one day, of one massacre, in one village. its name is tula toli. since august, more than 600,000 people have sought refuge in the camps in bangladesh. people who brought little with them, but the nightmarish memories of their experiences at the hands of the burmese military. we have come here, to find survivors of the tula toli massacre. we have spoken to six of them, we have cross references their testimony with video evidence. absolutely horrific pictures. with maps of the local area, as well as with interviews collected by human rights organisations. what emerges is a picture
11:24 pm
of systematic violence. violence that has been described as a text book example of ethnic cleansing. using a satellite photograph of the area, a rohingya elder showed me how the massacre unfolded. the village of tula toli consists of a number of settlements surrounded on three sides by the meandering flow of a river. in previous days soldiers set fire to other villages on the opposite bank. that wednesday morning, the 30th august, they crossed into tula toli. there was panic. everyone mentions the river.
11:25 pm
with the soldiers advancing from the north—west, and a police post to the south, many of the villagers ran east, they ended up on the river bank. they were trapped. and yourself were on the other side of the river? this woman showed us where she and others swam across the river at a point downstream where it was narrow enough to cross. they used banana trees and plastic canisters as liferafts. did you see this with your own eyes? from a hill on the opposite bank, they watched the horror unfold. the horrific scenes she witnessed, still give her nightmares. she watched the bodies of her neighbour's children wash up on the river bank, the scene
11:26 pm
was filmed by another villager. the child ren‘s names were rashida, five years old, kushida, three, and zahidia, who was 11 months. anora begum, her husband, and her four children all managed to escape with their lives. mohammed was not so fortunate. he and his youngest daughter survived but three of her sisters were killed, and so was their mother. the violence began five days before
11:27 pm
the massacre at tula toli, on the 25th august, when members of a rohingya militant group attacked a number of police posts inside myanmar, killing 12. in response, the burmese military began what they called clearance operations. boats filled with refugees have been coming ever since. it's two month since the terrible incidents that we have been looking at and these people are saying it is still going on. some have accused the burmese government of using the attacks
11:28 pm
by the militants as a pretext for a vicious and indiscrimate crackdown against civilians. bangladeshi authorities monitor what goes on on the other side of the border. and i have been told that from the beginning of august, so about three weeks before the violence started, they noticed an increase in military activity on the myanmar side. now, if that is true, that would suggest an element of preparation for the violence that followed. and this is the suggestion that we have heard corroborated by some of the witnesses we have spoken to as well. we were told an an incident that happened nearly two weeks before the massacre at tula toli. also, before the attacks by the militant group known
11:29 pm
as the arakan rohingya salvation army. were they trying to recruitment people in the village, was there some truth to that? witnesses said the policemen were called in by the village administrator, a local buddhist government official. a few days later that same official called a meeting. elders from both communities were asked to sign a kind of peace treaty. was that unusual to be asked to do
11:30 pm
something like that? the rohingya of tula toli saw that document as an explicit guarantee of their safety. it's because of this they stayed in their homes even when they saw other villages being burned. now they believe the administrator double crossed them. almost everyone we spoke to mentioned this village administrator, the local government representative. his name is singh. he would accuse the villagers of supporting the militants some said, others that he tried to force them to register as foreigners. another village elder
11:31 pm
told me before the massacre he and mr singh had been in regular contact. do you have his phone number, can you call him? human rights investigators and journalists have been trying to talk to this man for months. none have managed to contact him, until now. mr hussein lost a son and three grandchildren in the attack. now, over a crackly phone line he accuses the village administrator of complicity in the massacre. at the end of the conversation, mr hussein seems unconvinced. do you believe him? the majority of myanmar‘s rohingya muslims have by now already fled.
11:32 pm
dispossessed and stateless, the mud soaked camps of bangladesh are what they must, for now, call home. the burmese government says its military operation is a response to attacks by militants from the arakan rohingya salvation army on 25th august. but what about those reports of troop movements weeks earlier? well, we are on our way now to meet an officer in the bangladeshi border guard who might know more about this and might be willing to talk to us. hello, major. how's it going. fine. good. the major said he wasn't authorised to speak to the bbc on camera but we did have a conversation off camera and he said i could quote him with the following.
11:33 pm
they saw from around 5th august a huge concentration, his words, of myanmar military in the border area. he said apart from burning people's homes they extorted valuables, took their money. i asked him what the purpose of all of this was, he said they are trying to make the state rohingya free. by late morning on 30th august, on the river bank at tula toli, dozens of people had already been murdered. but it wasn't over yet. some villagers had escaped by swimming across the river, but many remained behind, especially younger women who had been separated from the rest by the soldiers. those who survived endured an ordeal of almost unimaginable horror. severely burned and wounded, mumtaz managed to crawl to safety and eventually escape under cover of darkness. she came to bangladesh with her seven—year—old daughter. her daughter was beaten by the soldiers, but survived, the others did not.
11:34 pm
one of her children, she said, was burned to death. at least one other survivor of the tula toli massacre has reported her young child was thrown into a fire. others had infants torn from their arms. mumtaz is only 30 years old. the men who raped her, who killed
11:35 pm
her children, were soldiers. but she, like others, told us that non—rohingya civilians took part in the attack that day as well, demanding money and valuables. i wondered about the buddhist village administrator, no—one we spoke to said he personally took part in the attack, and it seems unlikely a local civilian official could have stopped the powerful burmese military, but still it felt like he had questions to answer. hello sir, it is the bbc here, just to say we are recording this call, can i ask you why did you not warn the villagers that the army was going to come in? the people here say that you wanted
11:36 pm
the rohingya out of the village, that you wanted them gone. the burmese government doesn't regard the rohingya muslims as citizens of myanmar. stuck in the camps in bangladesh without official status it will be hard for them to return home, even if they felt it was safe to do so. the united nations has called this ethnic cleansing. others prefer the term genocide. by whatever name you call it, the massacre at tula toli
11:37 pm
was a monstrous crime. a crime that the burmese government is not investigating. every evening on the border, more people try to cross to safety in bangladesh, new arrivals say the villages are still being burned. that they are still being chased and terrorised from their homes. if it continues like this there won't be many rohingya left in myanmar. difficult to watch. gabriel gatehouse reporting. and making that film with him, were producer, james clayton, and camerman, jack garland. we did contact the myanmar embassy last week to get more on their side of the story, but we have not had a response. and one post script, to date the uk — that is dfid using the aid budget — has committed £47 million to help ease the situation there. 0n brexit we had an apparent concession to mps from
11:38 pm
the government today. yes, they'll get a vote on any brexit deal. it'll be in legislation, enshrined in a withdrawal agreement and implementation bill. the debate now is whether that is the so—called meaningful vote that numerous mps had sought or whether it is a fake meaningful vote. 0ur political editor, nick watt, is with me. is that a meaningful vote? it guess it depends on what happened if they vote no. i think i will give you a "yes but" answer, it is meaningful because we are talking about legislation, legislation could be amended and it will contrast with the earlier vote the government's proposed which is is a vote on a motion that would take place on the deal before the european parliament gets its vote. but this piece of legislation would be like a treaty, there will be a treaty with the eu, you can't really amend treaties, because it has been done.
11:39 pm
and also david davis said this evening if you vote this bill down, you are voting for a no deal, and crucially, the pro european tories would have lost the one bit of leverage they would have, if the government succeeds in getting on to the face of the bill, its own amendment, which is to name the date of brexit. so that is... that happens unless you change it. they would not be able to say can we extend. so it is vote for the deal or no deal. doesn't it mean that the only way the rebels can change the government's mind is to vote the government down, is to treat it as a confidence motion? will they treat it as a confidence motion sand say if this fails the government goes? where we are now that is the on the way they could do it. at the moment the tory rebels haven't got the numbers, there are five or six labour people, mps who will vote with the government, the government has a majority of ten. so the tory rebels have to be in double figure, will they be there? i'm not sure, that is just to amend the legislation. bringing down the government? they would have to go in the division lobbies withjeremy
11:40 pm
corbyn, win a vote of no confidence and what? give him two weeks to try and form a government. i don't think any tory mp would do that. last one, if it is not impossible that we will be often a take it or leave it deal by the eu at the end of it all and the government will say we want the leave it, it is a bad deal. is there any way mps can say hang on a minute, you can't say no, we would like to say yes to that deal. can they kind of, can the eu reach over the head of government to give our mps a deal that the government don't want. remember that the government controls the legislative time northern ireland assembly the house of commons, and this is a minority conservative administration but they do have the support of the dup.
11:41 pm
ten votes in the bag because the dup do not want to see jeremy corbyn as prime minister, buzz you have right, the eu is thinking of doing that, because they are sensing weakness. often on programmes like this, we talk about the world as if it is a rational place. we query policy decisions as though people have thought about them logically. often they have, but in the last few decades, we have more than ever come to realise that human thought is far from rational and is subject to all sorts of human error. we have cognitive biases that sway our thinking, just as spock used to tell us in star trek. apart from him, it was two israeli psychologists who worked together in the ‘70s and ‘80s, who did more than anyone to promote our understanding of our irrational side. and their collaboration makes a fascinating story in its own right. it's been told in a book called the undoing project by the acclaimed us writer michael lewis, the man behind the big short and moneyball among other blockbusters. i met up with him this morning, to talk about the world today, cognitive biases, and those two israeli psychologists who most people have probably not heard of. so i forgive people who haven't heard of them, because i hadn't
11:42 pm
heard of them. danny would be best known for having one won the noble prize in economics in 2002. despite not being an economist. there were two psychologists, who met in the late 60s, in jerusalem and though they were seen by the people round them as complete opposite, total odd couple. one was neurotic an depressed an artistic and imaginative and the other was this very up beat logician, but who was kind of everybody could see his genius, they came together to do work that was unlike any work that had been done in psychology, they explored scientifically how the mind worked, and specifically, they went looking for the errors the mind make, and found kind of systematic errors that the mind makes and this had implications for all kinds of fields, you name the field i can give you an implication, but medicine, in law, and their work spawned the field of behavioural economics. the partnership between them was fantastically productive, and as you say, sort of revolutionised the way we think about thinking, and then they didn't quite hold it together at the end. oh no.
11:43 pm
they busted up like a pair of loves who were upset with each other. the relationship, the relationship had exactly the ark of a romantic affair, they met each other, they fell in love with each other‘s minds, they had ten spectacular year, the sex was the ideas, the children were the result. give us an example of your favourite cognitive error we make you have a simple one to describe, the way totally irrelevant information can distort a decision, they call it anchoring, so they brought people into a room, they gave, put them with a wheel of fortune that had numbers 0 to 99 on it. they had them spin the wheel of fortune, and it would come up on a number, they would ask them
11:44 pm
after this what percentage of the countries in the united nations are in from africa. and the people who had spun a high number would guess a higher number and the people who spun allow number would guess a low number. america's in a peculiar place at the moment, isn't it? have you found this cognitive bias framework useful in thinking about trump, the election, the way the voters have behaved? the joy of this is that you can filter almost anything through it, you can certainly filter the election through it. the first thing their work would say is wasn't it incredible, after the election, how an event that nobody saw coming, all of a sudden, starts to get explained in all kinds of ways that suggests it was predictable. their point would be it wasn't predictable. there's a lot of randomness in elections. you hold the election one day versus another you get a different result. who shows up that day, so on and so forth. where do you think it's going to go? i still hold out hope for a comic
11:45 pm
ending, rather than a tragic one. he has no idea what he's doing. he's surrounding himself largely, often with people who have no idea, who are ill suited to the role they're playing. he's trying to mobilise ugly forces in society. i don't think there's enough of it to sustain. if i had to bet what happens, i'd bet he's out of office ina year. i mean it does seem like american checks and balances have stopped him doing very much, right? he hasn't actually, look at what he's done, he's basically tweeted a lot. he's appointed some judges. they're going to be there for a long time. he's made a lot of people unhappy. he's stopped some refugees from coming into the country. he's made people very unsettled about their health care.
11:46 pm
what he's done is change everybody‘s mood. quite likely what's going to happen is it's going to get worse. his presence in the office is weakening his party. the way he's reacting to the muller investigation he's behaving exactly as a man would on whom russia had something. i mean, the only way to explain the tone of his behaviour is he's afraid of what russia might do to him. michael lewis, thank you very much. thank you. how can we protect rhinos? there are only about 28,000in the wild, and a new film invites us to wonder whether hunting them, or allowing trade in their horns, can actually be good for the species. i am paying for this hunt, people are employed because we are hunting. if there is no value and we can't hunt these animals, they will be extinct.
11:47 pm
the commodification of wildlife, what a vision of nature that would be. they like to talk about conservation, they are just brainwashing. they enjoy killing. the change is coming. we're going to put it into this. surely we want our world to survive. we have to keep this fight going. this is my trophy, and there's not any bureaucrat that can take it away from me. now — that's the taster of the film trophy — which is in cinemas and downloadable later this week. it looks at the money that can be raised and the habitat protected by allowing some commercial hunting. or more intriguingly, the idea of farming rhino in order to sell their ivory. clearly, this has not been the traditional approach to animal protection. well, joining me arejohn hume, who claims to be the world's biggest private rhino breeder. he features in the film, and wants to sell ivory that is humanely taken from the animals. also with me is tania mccrea—steele from the international fund for animal welfare.
11:48 pm
very good evening to you both. john, tell us what you do — you've got how many rhino on your ranch? i have 1,538 as of today. you breed them ? i breed rhinos and i believe that i have the recipe to save them from extinction. which is? breeding better, protecting better. right. and the crucial bit that you want, which is you basically take off their horns. you don't kill them to take off their horns. no, you only take off their horns, like you take off your nails. cutting it off on the dead part that's not alive. so we trim their horns and the day after we've trimmed them, it's worth so much less to the poacher. because the rhino hasn't got much horn left. it's worth so much left for him to kill and steal the horn. it's necessary to make it less attractive to the poacher, when he's still got the same amount of risk, the same amount of work but much less reward. crucially you want the money from selling the horn to pay for the whole operation.
11:49 pm
exactly. having removed some of the horn, by the horn trimming procedure, it is dangerous to store it and expensive to store it. so why don't we use the money from the horn to save the lives of the rest of the rhino. let me put that question to tanya. we get the business model. yeah. what is wrong with that as a business model? i understand that john is a businessman and trading in rhino horn, let's face it, is profitable. that's what is motivating all these criminals to change their criminal syndicates and focus on illegal trade in rhino horn. what we'll see with the sale going ahead is actually the demand for rhino horn being stoked. we'll see an increase in appetite for the trade in rhino horn. what we really need to do is we need to suppress that demand — you're legitimising a market, basically. yeah, then it makes it nigh on impossible for both consumers who might buy into the green
11:50 pm
washing, but for enforcers to tell the difference between illegal rhino horn and legal horn. if you're buying a piece of rhino horn, find me one customer that's going to dna test it. the crucial issue is whether a market in rhino horns legitimises the illegal market in rhino horns? no banning has ever worked in the world. america learned that lesson by trying to ban alcohol. we have given the market to the poachers. we've given them carte blanche. they've got no competition. all the business has gone to them. because we've kept it away from the legal suppliers of rhino horn. my rhinos will all be dead in ten years if i don't finance keeping them alive. that's simply not true. back in the 805 we saw an ivory ban come into effect.
11:51 pm
we saw ivory poaching massively decrease. then we saw a case being made for putting legal ivory back into circulation and what we saw after that, which we prophesised, which was there would be a spike in poaching. that's exactly what's happened. this has played out before with elephants. we need to make sure it doesn't happen again with rhinos. we're reaching a tipping point where we're getting the political momentum to tackle this problem. this is going to really be a backward step because we're on the verge of bidding the network to break a network. there are elephant experts in africa who will completely disagree with that and tell you a one—off sale is not the way to go, not in ivory or rhino horn. 0bviously, i'm here to argue for the life of my rhinos. the interesting thing is that some say if you can let people make money out a big mammal, the big mammals will survive. if you make money by killing big
11:52 pm
mammals they will be extinct in a few generations. it's a lovely idea in an ideal world. but this is the real world. this isn't just about the rhinos, this is about the lives of the people standing between the rhinos and poachers to protect them because they want rhinos to be around for their children. they don't want to see them go the way of the dinosaurs. what we're doing at the international fund for animal welfare is working with local communities to make sure that they can benefit from wildlife thriving on their doorstep and working on tangible solutions. the film is called trophy, thank you both very much indeed. that's all we have time for. i'm back tomorrow. till then, goodnight. hello again. it is a chilly day to
11:53 pm
day, wasn't it? temperatures between five and seven celsius. cold enough in scotland to get some snow. i know we'll go nuts snowy weather but snow is going to be short lived because things are changing weatherwise. today we had northerly winds with us bringing in that cold air but in the last few hours we have started to see the winds change more to a westerly direction. weather fronts slicing the weather, a country in half, bringing cloud, patchy rain and drizzle and that damp weather is working in at the moment. 0ne band of rain across scotland, another in parts of england and wales. these are the kind of temperatures we will have overnight, a much milder night compared with last night. looking at the weather charts for tuesday, a lot of cloud across england, wales and northern ireland, thick enough for a spot of rain or drizzle. the dampest weather across western areas. the best of the sunshine across scotland and north east
11:54 pm
england. in sunnier moments that will feel quite cool. temperatures eight degrees at best in aberdeen. the milder conditions where we have that thicker cloud. temperatures in double figures. that's your weather. i'm babita sharma in london. the headlines: the escape of islamic state — the bbc uncovers a secret deal that let thousands of is fighters leave the city of raqqa. the deal to get out of pe is the deal that no one wants to talk about -it deal that no one wants to talk about —itis deal that no one wants to talk about — it is raqqa ‘s dirty secret. i'm sharanjit leyl in singapore. also in the programme: could asian leaders finally be making progress on the disputed south china sea ? we'll have the latest from their summit in manila. and when news anchors go crazy — we talk to breaking bad star bryan cranston about his 1970s television satire. live from our studios in singapore and london, this is bbc world news. it's newsday.
11:55 pm
11:56 pm
11:57 pm
11:58 pm
11:59 pm
12:00 am


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on